Best Of :: Shopping & Services
A big chain can be a turn-on. Sometimes choosing is hard: There's the airport Pleasure Emporium's humongous selection. There's the South Beach location where infamous murderer Andrew Cunanan reportedly shopped. And there's the Pleasure that delivers. The Miami River store, however (the newest carnal incarnation in the local porn proprietor's dynasty), tops our list again, mainly for its proximity to the professional wankfest that is downtown. After all, who really needs an hour to eat lunch? Fifteen minutes is plenty. Which leaves another 45 to browse the arousing collection of kinky blowups (how about an $88 policewoman doll?), dildos, vibrators, simulated vaginas, "fantasy wear," and more (booby pacifier, anyone?), plus literally thousands of porn videos. Although the sizable pink erection caused a flap among city politicos at the nearby Miami Riverside Center (a vote in its favor), the novelty store is no mere novelty. Open 24 hours Friday and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, Pleasure Emporium III is well lit and seemingly clean, with courteous male and female clerks -- hardly a stereotypically seamy waterfront sex shop. An average-looking couple spied on a recent visit could just as easily have been shopping for fixtures at Home Depot as searching through rows of Jelly Royale accouterments for the perfect penis placebo (by the way, a Pistol Peter Pump goes for $69.95).
Folks in South Miami-Dade take their baseball seriously, and so does Hitter's House. The store features four batting cages where a practicing slugger can get twenty pitches for just $1.25. Special hourly team rates are another indication that Hitter's House understands that the nation's favorite pastime is not just another sport. Autographed photos and baseball cards are available for collectors. Hard-core playing enthusiasts can find just about every piece of baseball gear available, from mitts to mouthpieces.
This bike shop has been around since 1944; the oldest bike it carries -- a rare Packard found nowhere else in Florida, so they say -- dates to 1902. Yes, Broken Spoke specializes in antique bikes. For instance there's the toddler bike, circa 1920, that belonged to one of the Rickenbacker children. Chris Marshall, Broken Spoke's owner, says he purchased it from a former caretaker of the Rickenbacker home. Iggy Pop rented two Schwinn Sting Rays from Marshall for a music video. At the end of production, the aging punk rocker fell in love with the bikes, bought them, and had them transported to Europe. Marshall's bikes have even starred in Hollywood blockbusters such as There's Something About Mary. His peddled prizes have been featured in national magazines. Double Trouble, an ice-blue six-wheeler, wins the local low-rider shows every time, Marshall says. But Broken Spoke's most impressive bike hangs from the shop's ceiling. It's called Silver Bullet, and at first glance it almost looks like a Harley. How's that for a bike shop?
These people will sharpen everything from chain saws to steak knives. And when they are done, owner Dennis Hollinger promises you will be able to shave a hair on either edge. At $1.50 per knife, this kind of kitchen convenience is a bargain. Open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the Tool Shed also features an excellent selection of knives for sale, both of the culinary and pocket variety.
Mitchell Kaplan has lotsa books. Books and books. He has books on photography, architecture, film, and music. Books of poetry and works of literature. Books by great authors. Books by obscure writers. Books on Cuba. Books on boxing. Books carried by no other bookstore in town. Kaplan has so many books, he moved to a new Coral Gables location this year, across the street from his old one. Much bigger. More room for his books. If you can't make it to Coral Gables, drop by the Lincoln Road store. It, too, is filled with books. Books and books and books.
Tucked in a tree-lined corner of Allapattah, this stucco garage painted with frescoes of San Lazaro and Santa Barbara is the real deal. Pigeons, doves, and roosters coo in cages in the back, ready to give it up for the orishas. Antlers hang overhead, and the shelves are stuffed with boxes of twigs, roots, and herbs. Everything you'd ever need to please your santo is here, as well as a plethora of potions, charms, and trinkets. If you don't know what you're doing, the friendly staff is happy to advise you. While you can find many an oddity, the hours are not one of them: Open 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.